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Can you gain weight from eating too little?

Thermodynamics don’t lie!

Thermodynamics is a way to express how energy is used and changed. Put simply, we take in energy in the form of food, and we expend energy through activities such as:

Basic metabolic functions (breathing, circulating blood, etc.) movement (daily-life activity, purposeful exercise, etc.) producing heat (also called thermogenesis) digestion and exercise.

I cover the topic in a video which will soon be release on Youtube.

The truth is......

Energy balance (calories in, calories out) does determine bodyweight.

If we absorb more energy than we expend, we gain weight. If we absorb less energy than we expend, we lose weight.

This has been tested over and over again.

It’s as close as we can get to scientific fact.

What is your idea of “eating too little?"

Do you mean…

Eating less than normal?

Eating less than you’ve been told to eat?

Eating less than feels right?

Eating less than you need to be healthy?

Are you…

Eating too little at one meal?

Eating too little on one day?

Eating too little every day?

Eating too little almost every day but too much on some days?

Without clarity on some of these questions, you can see how easy it is to assume you’re “eating too little” but still not eating less than your actual energy expenditure, even if you did some test to estimate your metabolic rate and it seems like you’re eating less than that number.

Most of the time, the problem is your perception!

OK, Helder but I am tracking my intake and expenditure religiously?

But what if you are meticulously tracking intake? Logging your meals? Counting your steps? And things still aren’t adding up?

Maybe look at this:

The calorie counts of the foods you’ve logged might be higher than expected, either because of erroneous labeling or because of small errors in your own measurement. (Guessing is one of the biggest culprits here.)

Your energy needs might be lower than calculated. This may be because…You’re expending less energy through movement than your fitness tracker or exercise machine suggests.

I am not saying you are lying, it could be that you’re also “forgetting” to account for the few bites of your kids’ chicken nuggets that you didn’t want to go to waste. Or that extra spoonful of peanut butter. Or the large glass of wine you counted as a ‘medium’. Likewise, the calorie counts on those food labels can be (and often are) off.

Maybe you’re counting your workout as high intensity, even though you spent much of it sitting on a bench between low-rep strength sets. Maybe you were so hungry afterwards, you ate more than you intended.

It happens; we’re all human.

So what can you do?

If you feel your intake is less than your needs, (in other words, you’re eating what feels like ‘too little’) but you still aren’t losing weight, here are some helpful next steps to try.

1. When tracking your food intake be as accurate as possible, guessing most of the time will not cut it!

2. Wear a step counter and stick with that counter to keep it consistent.

3. Stick to a training plan, too many times I see people doing 2 days one week and then 4 days the week after, and then nothing the week after, this is not consistent and will result in either less or more energy burned.

4. Choose a high protein and fibre diet to keep you fuller for longer, this will limit the chances of over eating.

5. Drink plenty of water.

Hope the above helps.

Coach HB

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